Archive for August, 2011

Kickin’ it Stateside

Posted: August 12, 2011 in Life in the UK, Worldview

I recently had the opportunity to head back to the good ole’ U-S of A over the past week to be in the wedding of a good friend. After living in the UK for almost a year now, it offered a chance for me to see the US from a fresh perspective. Some of the things I noticed:

1) US roads are very poorly marked. Unless you know wtf you’re doing and where you are going, it’s a nightmare. I’ve never been a fan of GPS (Sat Nav) and have always gone the route of maps or Google maps if need be. I was visiting an area on the east coast not far from where I grew up in New Jersey so figured I didn’t need a damn map, but I had a devil of a time finding the “city centre” of one of the towns I had to go to. In Europe and the UK there are tons of signs pointing one to the center of any small town or village. WTF USA…not very tourist friendly I must say….although the one thing the US does to better is street signs. It’s such a pain in the ass in Europe and the UK when you have to squint your eyes to try and see a street sign plastered 25 feet up on the side of the building…yea, that’s useful.

2) Again, the roads…I’ve noticed that roads in the UK and Europe are always marked with respect to cities and not necessarily directions (i.e, M3 towards London, not M3 South). I’ve always find this kind of annoying, but now I see the logic in it. All you need to know is the relative location of a handful of major cities, and where you are going in relation to it, and you are golden. In the US, unless you are on an interstate it can get very tricky, other roads like county roads, highways etc. don’t always run in the direction in which they are named (e.g, 22 east will run north at times…) which can take you way way off. Damn Americans.

3) Alright, the food in the US is about 1000% better, on average, than in the UK. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the area, but just getting a falafel wrap from a street vendor in Philly was better than just about every sandwich made in the UK I’ve had thus far. Oh yea, and if you’re ever in Philly and want the best damn cheesesteak of your life, go to Jon’s Roast Pork (Pat’s and Geno’s are complete rubbish, Jim’s on South Street is decent after a night of drinking, Campo’s, Tony Luke’s and Phillip’s ain’t bad…but Jon’s Roast Pork is THE best by far, 12oz of rib eye my friend)….eat that shitte or whatever RisottoProf says…

4) We Americans are a bunch of arrogant jackasses that don’t give a hoot about the rest of the world…oh well…whuddyagonnado?!

5) I didn’t realize how much I missed the in your face attitude of east coast city folks in the US. While at Jon’s Roast Pork a yelling match broke out between a customer and the guys behind the counter because he waited 40 minutes for his cheesesteaks (the response…SOME PEOPLE WAIT OVER AN HOUR FOR OUR STEAKS!). Now that’s something you don’t see in the UK…wow, it’s funny the things you miss…

Hmmm…I guess that’s it for now…I keep meaning to post about British and American stereotypes, so I think I’ll stop here and leave some juicy bits for that post.

What do you think, FDX?

Posted: August 2, 2011 in Academia

Alright, I know it’s kinda’ lame, but I got my first (and hopefully not last!) request to review a manuscript solo! And it’s in a decent society level journal too!

Was exhausted in the lab today (got back to the flat at 1 o’clock this morning after a four day weekend in Switzerland…) but found this little gem of a request in the inbox of my graduate school account. Probably just my grad adviser saying “well I don’t feel like doing it, why don’t you ask this chump”. Nonetheless, it’s pretty damn cool to be reviewing on my own for the first time. I’m sure it’ll become old hat at some point, but it’s a nice rush knowing someone values my opinion (and gets another line on the ole’ CV).

 

Now, the only question is, which fine ale do I enjoy while reading the manuscript…decisions…decisions….